Russia to crack down on e-cigs
Russian lawmakers have passed a bill which would put e-cigarettes, including heated tobacco products and vape devices and cartridges, on a par with traditional cigarettes and tobacco products. This would mean a total ban on sales to minors and restrictions in terms of promotion and trade.
The Russian State Duma passed the proposal in the third reading on Tuesday in a landslide vote, with over 400 MPs supporting it. It now has to be approved by the upper chamber of the Russian parliament and signed by the president before coming into force.
The bill amends several existing laws, including the law that regulates the trade and consumption of tobacco. It also applies to vape cartridges that do not contain nicotine and bans flavored varieties which experts consider to be more attractive to younger consumers.
The sponsors of the bill say the idea that e-cigarettes are safer than regular cigarettes is divorced from reality, citing medical studies. Minors who use them risk becoming smokers after developing an addiction to nicotine, the lawmakers stated. Applying the same regulations to e-cigs and regular tobacco makes sense, they added.
State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin previously announced plans to introduce higher taxes on e-cigarettes to discourage consumption. Commenting on the passage of the legislation, he said that by raising taxes high enough, vapes would become “inaccessible in principle.”
Critics of the draft law warned that it could prompt people to switch to regular cigarettes and would create a black market for their electronic alternatives.